Federal money for schools should come without strings attached

One reason so many education bureaucrats and liberal politicians do not like new U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is clear: They fear she and her boss, President Donald Trump, will eliminate the control Washington has over schools throughout the nation.

Indeed, it may be the best thing DeVos could do in her position is to eliminate her own job.

In a speech to a conference of educators last week, DeVos said she favors more local control over public schools. “Those closest to the problem are often best equipped to solve it,” she explained.

Precisely — providing DeVos understands how to restore local control.

Virtually every public school and school district in the United States is controlled by the federal DOE. Many Americans may wonder why on earth the discredited Common Core standards for school curriculum were adopted by their states. The answer is that the DOE pressed states to adopt Common Core.

Another concern, too many standardized tests, also can be traced to pressure from Washington.

Education bureaucrats can exert such pressure because they have the money. Few schools, especially those in states where so many students are from low- and moderate-income families, can afford to operate without federal money.

During recent years, the DOE’s financial whip has grown much bigger. The agency has about $43 billion in discretionary funds to spend on K-12 education each year. That is more than twice the agency’s K-12 budget in 2000.

Clearly, the best way to restore local control is to get that money out of Washington and into our schools without strings attached.